Our next Women’s History Month worker spotlight is Amy Keigwin! Keigwin is a second-year Computer and Digital Forensics major from Franklin, Massachusetts. She is currently working on the SOC Tier 1 project and has been an Intern in Research in the past for the Leahy Center. Her other experiences outside of the Leahy Center include being a Conference Intern for the MAVA Connection for Success Conference, and a Data Entry Intern for CTS Services.
What made you choose to major within the information technology field?
I have always been interested in computers and technology from a very young age, so when I went to a vocational high school, that desire to learn computer science just intensified, and led me to pick an area, cybersecurity, and my specific degree.
What was your first experience with technology?
My first experience with technology was as a child using my family’s PC to play flash games, card games, and make drawings for my parents in MS Paint.
Are there any females in tech that you look up to?
Not really. My role models are usually my teachers, especially my high school networking and programming teacher. She worked really hard to make sure that all of her students understood the content, and was a big advocate for me and the other women in my class, always encouraging us to apply for scholarships, certifications, and awards. I was even nominated to go to a few conferences because of her!
What are the pros and cons of being a woman in tech?
A few pros of being a woman in tech are that my opinions about a certain task are taken seriously and that I am generally more marketable to companies, so finding a job isn’t as difficult. A few cons are that I am generally one of, if not the only, woman on my team, and it can be harder to integrate myself into a team that is male-dominated, especially if interests are not shared.
Is it daunting to be working in a male-dominated field?
It can definitely be daunting working in a male-dominated field, especially when I am the newcomer and the team I am joining is already well-established. However, I find that time can lessen a lot of that distance, and knowing a few people from classes before joining my team at the Leahy Center helped make things easier.
What advice would you give to younger women who are interested in getting into the tech field?
Develop a backbone, and learn to stand up for yourself. You’re going to encounter adversaries from colleagues and bosses alike, and learning to say “no” is an incredibly valuable skill. Along the same line, make contacts with people in different departments and learn the people in HR. Having a good reputation keeps your integrity from being as heavily questioned, and makes you a more valuable employee.
Why is it important to have women in the tech field?
I think it’s really important to have women in the tech field not only for the bridging of gender equality but also just for the fact that people have different perspectives based on life experiences. I think women stand to bring a lot of ideas and experience into any field, particularly the tech field, where being innovative is the name of the game. There’s also just the simple fact of giving young girls more female role models to help motivate them into going into fields they may have not previously considered because it doesn’t follow gender stereotypes.
What would you like to achieve in the tech field in the future?
Right now, I want to be a digital forensics examiner working in the public sector. As such, providing evidence to a court and that being integral to a conviction is something I want to achieve. Aside from that, just raising more awareness about women in tech is a goal I would like to work towards, especially if that means I get to work with organizations where I have participated in their competitions, like CyberPatriot.